Living in Chains. Shackling of People with Psychosocial Disabilities Worldwide – REPORT and VIDEOS

"The chain is so heavy. It doesn’t feel right; it makes me sad"

Men, women, and children are chained or locked in confined spaces in 60 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, simply because they have a mental health condition.

Paul, man with a psychosocial disability chained in a faith healing institution, Kenya, February 2020:

“I’ve been chained for five years. The chain is so heavy. It doesn’t feel right; it makes me sad. I stay in a small room with seven men. I’m not allowed to wear clothes, only underwear. I have to go to the toilet in a bucket. I eat porridge in the morning and if I’m lucky, I find bread at night, but not every night…. It’s not how a human being is supposed to be. A human being should be free.”


Around the world, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children with mental health conditions have been shackled—chained or locked in confined spaces—at least once in their lives.

Many are held in overcrowded, filthy rooms, sheds, cages, or animal shelters and are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in the same tiny area. This inhumane practice—called “shackling”—exists due to inadequate support and mental health services as well as widespread beliefs that stigmatize people with psychosocial disabilities...

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